A mini-heat wave is upon us. Thirty degrees and rising. A taster to say, enjoy the last of the Indian summer before Autumn chases it away. An article I read recently extolled the virtues of swimming outdoors, in the wild if possible it stated. Visions of Huckleberry Finn enter my mind and children jumping into streams. There are no wild streams nearby but the gym outdoor pool is open. I have never tried it. I book a slot, tried to change the timings and ended up booking two slots one after the other. A technical hitch meant I couldn’t cancel the unwanted one. 

Surrounded by acres of field and trees the pool provides a splash of blue against the greenery. A cloudless sky gazed down upon us. The hazy shape of the sun becoming brighter as the early morning turned into late morning. Silence completed the picture. You have to listen intensely for bird sounds, but underwater there was nothing. There was only four of us in the pool. “You’ve chosen a good day”, the pool guard made small talk. It was the fine day that chose us, I wanted to reply. The pool is heated and there is no need for a sharp intake of breath as you slip into the warm water. The reflections of the sun’s rays fall on the ripples and cast dancing patterns on the blue square tiles. 

Childhood stories fill my mind. I’ve had a good upbringing, never wanting for anything. Then I remember the pair of green shoes. The ones I saw in a shop while trying on some sensible school shoes during our annual shopping trip to Singapore. The shoes which I thought would complete and transform my life. I imagined wearing it and walking in it. My parents said ‘No’. Oh, the disappointment of the young mind. Why do memories like this linger in one’s mind. I try to dig deep looking for some happy moments. After all I am enjoying one of the best swims in a long while. I tell the pool guard that I booked two slots by mistake. It is not a busy day and he lets me stay the hour. Normally after half an hour cramps set in but today it didn’t and I stayed. 

The changing room is closed and we have to trek back to the main building to dry off. A fellow swimmer struggles to pull up her jogging bottoms over her wet legs.  “It was worth the effort, wasn’t it?” I smile and she nods. I will definitely come back for more before the summer finally says its farewell for the year. As for the green shoes I’m glad I never did get it. The young mind would have been disillusioned. 

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